One year later: Berkeley’s Soda Tax significantly reduced sales of sugary drinks

A study titled “Changes in prices, sales, consumer spending, and beverage consumption one year after a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Berkeley, California, US: A before-and-after study” was published online in PLOS Medicine today (April 18, 2017). This study compared pre-taxation and first-year post-taxation prices, sales and store revenue, and surveys of Berkeley residents about beverage intake. The study found that the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) implemented by Berkeley, CA on March 1, 2015 created a drop in purchases of taxed SSBs (by a decline of 9.6%) and an increase in sales of untaxed beverages (+3.5%), especially water (+15.6%). Store revenue did not fall more in Berkeley compared to cities without a tax, and the average grocery bill did not increase in Berkeley after the tax.

Watch a video summarizing the study below, and read more about this study from PLOSMed here. This study was funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies with support from UNC’s Carolina Population Center and its National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant (P2C HD050924).



Berkeley Store Price Survey (excel dataset)

Berkeley Point-of-Sale data (Stata dataset, zip folder)

Dietary and Shopping Behavior Survey data (excel dataset)